Conspiring to Limit Commercial Breaks

When it comes to "X-Files" merchandise, the truth is trademarked.

Fans can buy a piece of the truth starting about $4.95 plus tax. That gets you a small, black enamel pin emblazoned with the show's motto: "The Truth Is Out There." Things go up from there.

Looking for Intrigue? Fully loaded, Intrigue will set you back $26,500.

This is "X-Files" marketing, a vast commercial conspiracy where Intrigue is an Oldsmobile sedan and "The Truth" is sold in increments. Unlike other popular TV shows such as "The Simpsons," "X-Files" merchandise is deliberately hard to get.

"There are no Wal-Mart merchandising deals," said Mark Stroman, a senior vice president for marketing and promotions at Fox Television.

Any doubt that Brand X merchandising is big business was erased last month when a Los Angeles judge ordered a New York mail-order company to pay "X-Files" star David Duchovny (Special Agent Fox Mulder) $366,000 for selling autographed pictures of the Internet heartthrob's famous face without his permission.

Fans who shell out $25 to get into this weekend's X-Files Expo in Tustin can rest assured all merchandise bears the Fox network seal of approval--and a hefty price tag.

A shopping sampler:

"The Truth Is Out There" baseball cap: $15.95

"Brand X" coffee mug: $12.95

Blue and white "X-Files" computer wrist pad: $13.95

Original "X-Files" film cels: $25.95.

"X-Files" wall clock: $33.50.

Topp's trading cards from "X-Files" Season One: $19.95 to $30.

Four European "X-Files" phone cards: $28.

Looking for the ultimate physical proof of extraterrestrial life as sought by the indefatigable Mulder? An 8-inch-tall collectible figurine of "The Abducted Smoking Alien" is $123.99.

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